York mayor to proclaim June LGBT Pride Month

Logan Hullinger
York Dispatch
Young people hold posters in support of gay rights during a rally to mark International Women's Day in Tbilisi, Georgia, Wednesday, March 8, 2017.  Women around the globe are taking to the streets to mark the day. (AP Photo/Shakh Aivazov)

York City Mayor Michael Helfrich will proclaim June Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month.

Helfrich will make the announcement at noon Monday, June 18, at York City Hall, 101 S. George St., according to a Wednesday, June 13, news release. The public is invited to attend.

Several local organizations also will attend, including the York NAACP; Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays; and the Community Progress Council.

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Most LGBT events are held in June to commemorate the June 28, 1969, Stonewall rebellion. Early that morning, there was a police raid at the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City. 

Members of the LGBT community fought back against police during a series of violent demonstrations and riots, often considered a catalyst to the modern LGBT movement.

Pride month celebrations take place worldwide in commemoration of the event, and now York City will officially join the movement.

Helfrich said he takes pride in his involvement with the local LGBT community, including Equality Fest, an annual weeklong event to embrace diversity in York County.

"We want to join the rest of the world with the June LGBT celebrations," he said. "All of us should be given the respect we deserve while we live the life that makes us happiest."

Still, the proclamation is bigger than a piece of paper or a celebration, said Carla Christopher, founder of Equality Fest.

Kayla Minguela, 18 of York, attends the 4th Annual Equality Fest at Penn Park in York, 2017.  John A. Pavoncello photo

"The proclamation isn't just for those who support the LGBTQ community but also for those who haven't come out yet," she said. "We can proudly see powerful members of the community — some gay, some Latino, some black — and they all serve as role models."

Christopher noted that for those who don't live in York, the proclamation might seem like a reactionary measure to make the community seem more inclusive.

She referenced the recent "Grandview Five" incident, which made national headlines after a group of African-American women were told to leave Grandview Golf Club in York on the second hole.

The issue prompted allegations of discrimination against the business.

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"Without context, it'd be easy to assume that the proclamation was reactionary, because some people may see recent news and think York is old-fashioned and noninclusive," she said. "However, the city and Helfrich have shown consistent support of minorities."

Christopher emphasized the proclamation is substantial and reflects progress made in the community.

"Two or three years ago there were only a few LGBTQ organizations," she said. "Now there's a long list. It really shows that there are resources out there for someone, no matter who they are."